What you say to yourself DOES matter. Researchers found that older adults are generally higher in spontaneous self-affirmation tendencies, as compared to other age groups. But that doesn’t mean we’re all immune to occasional negative self-talk. When you examine your own mental chatter, you might discover that you can say some pretty mean things to yourself. Mental statements like: “I’ll never lose this weight”; “Nothing good ever happens to me”; “What’s the point of trying, things never change”; “I never fit in anywhere, what’s wrong with me?”; “I look so (old, fat, skinny, short, tired, bald, etc.).”
The bottom line is, you can reverse this negative thought pattern if you can catch yourself thinking these thoughts, and then correct them. You can also train yourself to establish a new habit of saying positive things about yourself. I’m not saying you should make things up, or make your statements extreme (I am the greatest; I am invincible, etc.). Rather, look to your past accomplishments and successes. Reflect on your values. Have you gotten through a challenge in the past and felt proud of how much strength you had? Have you met goals before? Have you mended your broken heart after a breakup or loss?
Plenty of research confirms why you should make positive self-affirmations a habit. In experiments where researchers had participants practice positive (“induced” ) self-affirmations, the outcomes included taking care of one’s health better, lower stress levels, greater weight loss, and an improvement in general psychological wellbeing.
Here are some ideas for making positive self-talk a habit:
- Write down your values, strengths, and past accomplishments.
- Think of a challenge you are facing. What are you telling yourself about your ability to handle this issue?
- How many times a day do you “bad-mouth” yourself? Put a check mark on a piece of paper whenever you become aware of putting yourself down.
- Begin to change any negative self-talk by substituting the put-downs with positive self-affirmations. You do this by recalling your past victories, values and strengths (see #1).
Eventually, by establishing a habit of positive self-talk, those self-affirmations will become spontaneous, and the number of negative “checks” you record will dwindle.
Researchers found a direct association between spontaneous self-affirmations and wellbeing. In my book that’s reason enough to start being your own best friend. Compliment yourself when you achieve a goal; remind yourself of what you have already accomplished in life; encourage yourself as you would a beloved family member.
I’d love to know how YOU are turning negative self-talk around. I read all of your comments!
Please like and share this post with anyone you feel it might benefit. And if you haven’t received my free Happiness eBook yet, just go to the tab on my homepage and get started putting more happiness into your life.
© Raeleen Mautner, LLC.